How to Decide on the Right CDL Training School near Eufaula Alabama
Congratulations on your decision to become a trucker and enroll in a CDL school near Eufaula AL. Perhaps it has always been your fantasy to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or possibly you have done some analysis and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers good income and flexible work prospects. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s important to receive the proper training by selecting the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are a number of factors that you’ll want to examine prior to making your final choice. Location will no doubt be important, particularly if you need to commute from your Eufaula residence. The expense will also be important, but choosing a school based entirely on price is not the best way to ensure you’ll obtain the appropriate education. Just remember, your goal is to learn the knowledge and skills that will enable you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that target in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to discuss in the rest of this article. But first, we are going to talk a little bit about which CDL license you will eventually need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
To drive commercial vehicles lawfully within the United States and Eufaula AL, an operator needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three classes of licenses that a person can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to select a truck driving school, we will discuss Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the kind of vehicle that the driver can operate as well as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief descriptions of the 2 classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is needed to operate any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. Several of the vehicles that drivers may be able to operate with Class A licenses are:
- Interstate or Intrastate Tractor Trailers
- Trucks with Double or Triple Trailers
- Tanker Trucks
- Livestock Carriers
- Class B and Class C Vehicles
Class B CDL. A Class B Commercial Drivers License is needed to drive single vehicles having a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Some of the vehicles that operators may be qualified to drive with Class B licenses are:
- Tractor Trailers
- Dump Trucks
- Cement Mixers
- Large Buses
- Class C Vehicles
Both Class A and Class B Commercial Drivers Licenses may also require endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles, for example school or passenger buses. And a Class A licensee, with the proper required endorsements, may operate any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to operate.
How to Research a CDL School
As soon as you have determined which CDL you would like to pursue, you can start the process of evaluating the Eufaula AL trucking schools that you are looking at. As previously discussed, location and cost will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be emphasized enough that they must not be your only concerns. Other factors, including the experience of the instructors or the reputations of the schools are equally if not more important. So following are some additional things that you need to research while conducting your due diligence before selecting, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Certified or Accredited ? Very few trucking schools in the Eufaula AL area are accredited because of the demanding process and cost to the schools. However, certification is more typical and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Potential students recognize that the training will be of the highest quality, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. As an example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of real driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will measure up to the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One indicator to help measure the quality of a trucking school is how long it has been in operation. A negatively ranked or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the top Eufaula AL schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifications. You can also learn what the school’s track record is regarding successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t share those stats, look elsewhere. The schools should additionally maintain associations with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms a quality reputation within the profession, but also bolsters their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to contact the Alabama licensing department to make sure that the CDL trucking schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? As a minimum requirement, the schools should be licensed in Alabama and hire teachers that are trained and experienced. We will cover more about the teachers in the next section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be obtaining the personal instruction they will need. This is especially true concerning the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that professes it can teach you to drive trucks in a relatively short time period. Learning to be a truck driver and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. Most Eufaula AL schools provide training programs that range from three weeks to as long as two months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Instructors? As earlier stated, it’s imperative that the teachers are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both instructors and drivers. Even though several states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also crucial that the instructors keep current with industry advancements or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers might be a little more subjective than other standards, and possibly the best method is to pay a visit to the school and speak with the teachers in person. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the level of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Above all else, a great truck driving school will furnish ample driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel driving a truck. While the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are important training methods, they are no replacement for real driving. The more training that a student gets behind the wheel, the better driver he or she will be. And even though driving time differs between schools, a good benchmark is 32 hours at a minimum. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Eufaula AL schools you are looking at and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to get discounted or even free training from certain trucking schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a particular carrier for a defined time period. This is referred to as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than maintaining affiliations with a wide range of trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Naturally contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when beginning your new career. But for some it may be the only way to obtain affordable training. Just be sure to inquire if the Eufaula AL schools you are contemplating are captive or independent so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there CDL Testing Onsite? There are some states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its grads. If onsite testing is available in Alabama, find out if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One benefit is that it is more accommodating than contending with graduates from competing schools for test times at Alabama testing locations. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV regards the authorized schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Classes Flexible? As previously noted, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months in length. With such a brief duration, it’s essential that the Eufaula AL school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the curriculum and the scheduling of classes. As an example, if you’re having difficulty learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be prepared to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while going to training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other obligations.
Is Job Assistance Provided? The moment you have attained your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driver school, you will be eager to start your new profession. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their graduates start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a lower job placement rate or not many Eufaula AL employers hiring their grads, it might be a clue to look elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driver schools are comparable to colleges and other Eufaula AL area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you understand the options and forms that must be completed.
Local Truck Driving Schools Eufaula Alabama
Choosing the right trucking school is a critical first step to starting your new vocation as a local or long distance truck driver. The skill sets taught at school will be those that forge a new career behind the wheel. There are a number of options offered and understanding them is vital if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Local Truck Driving Schools and wanting information on the topic Cheap CDL Training. However, you must receive the necessary training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are lacking money or financing, you might need to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent CDL school and have the the freedom to drive for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many associated with the school. It’s your choice. But no matter how you get your training, you will in the near future be entering a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Eufaula AL.
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The site along the Chattahoochee River that is now modern-day Eufaula was occupied by three Creek tribes, including the Eufaulas.:3 By the 1820s the land was part of the Creek Indian Territory and supposedly off-limits to white settlement.:4 By 1827 enough illegal white settlement had occurred that the Creeks appealed to the federal government for protection of their property rights. In July of that year, federal troops were sent to the Eufaula area to remove the settlers by force of arms, a conflict known as the "Intruders War".:4
The Creeks signed the Treaty of Washington in 1826, ceding most of their land in Georgia and eastern Alabama to the United States, but it was not fully effective in practice until the late 1820s. The 1832 Treaty of Cusseta, by which the Creeks ceded all land east of the Mississippi River to the United States, allowed white settlers to legally buy land from the Creek. However, the treaty's terms did not require any natives to relocate. By 1835 the land on which the town was built had been mostly purchased by white settlers, and had a store, owned in part by William Irwin, after whom the new settlement was named "Irwinton".:5
Significant numbers of Jewish settlers came to Eufaula in the middle of the nineteenth century from Germany and from neighboring states. The community founded a cemetery; the first burial took place in 1845.